What made you a reader?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved reading books. I love being able to slip into another dimension & lose myself in a story. There’s just something so wonderful about being able to suspend your own personal reality & slip into someone elses.

Growing up I knew I wasn’t part of the popular crowd, but I wasn’t the school pariah either (unfortunately for her that honour was saved for another girl), but I did get bullied by some of the popular girls. I’ve never had a lot of friends & have mostly been fine with that – I prefer small groups to large crowds & like solitary activities more than group escapades, so I suppose it’s only natural that reading be something that I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I have terrific memories of hanging out with my friends in the summer, canoeing, swimming in the river, riding our bikes – just generally being kids & having fun.

Then my best friend moved to Manitoba & suddenly I was alone. Looking back, that was a real turning point for me. I lost my anchor & found that the other people I had considered my friends really weren’t, so I turned even more to my books. I remember in grade 5 , we had a bit of a competition to see who could read the most books that school year. We had to write a book report about every book we read that year & I came second to a guy named Craig, who beat me by one book. I was so disappointed! All these years later I even remember some of the books I read – like Murphy’s Boy by Torey Hayden. It wasn’t on the list of books that our teacher had approved (Mom was at college at the time & this was one of the books she’d had to read for her psychology class) & I remember my Mom had to go into the school to talk to the teacher about the book, about whether they would allow me to read it.

As the years passed & I found I had less & less in common with my peers, I turned more & more to reading, to the point that by High School it had become a survival mechanism – I hated my new school & just didn’t fit in. Even in my own family I felt like I didn’t belong (my Mom sometimes jokes that I should have been an only child) & reading was my way of escaping. It was also, I suspect, a coping mechanism, as I was that prototypical middle child. It took a long time, but finally in my mid-twenties I accepted who I was & reading became less about escape & more about pleasure. Now, with the every day stresses of work & life, reading is no less important to me, but sadly is something I have far less time to do.

My nephew, Zach, is also a reader (though I don’t profess to know what drives him to read) & I know that it brings him as much pleasure as it brings me. For his birthday last year I contacted the author, Robert Muchamore, who Zach loves. Mr. Muchamore was so kind & sent Zach an out of print copy of one of his books, which he signed, along with a bunch of other stuff to do with his Cherub series of books. I thought that was pretty cool of him! By all accounts my niece, Hannah is also a reader & is now getting to that age where I could buy her books for a Christmas or birthday present & I know how much they will be loved. I am really looking forward to Christmas when I can shower them with books! My ultimate dream, though, would be to have a child of my own to share my love of books with, but I suspect I will have to live with sharing that love with my nephew & niece, as time is just about up for me on the childbearing front. Shame, it could have been fun!

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4 Comments

Filed under Life

4 responses to “What made you a reader?

  1. Thanks for sharing a little of your personal life. I think a lot of us serious readers are a bit on the fringe of society. Reading develops a sense of reflection and analytical thinking skills (of course that also depends on what you read) and it can be hard to find bosom buddies, so to speak, that are on the same page (no pun intended). So much of our society lives in the here and now.
    I am someone who loves people and am very interested in them (which I think reading can also cultivate-is not everyone a walking story?) but at the same time I can feel removed from them. And I really enjoy spending most of my hours alone.
    Anyway, as you can see, your post struck a chord with me. Have a great day!

  2. Thanks for your lovely comments. This was one of those posts that I hummed & hawed over whether I sould click that “Publish” button. Glad I was able to strike a chord with someone!

  3. Loved this post. I think I became a reader for many of the same reasons (plus, my Mom took us to the library all the time as a kid).

    Great topic. I must put this on my list of topics to blog about!

  4. Thanks for the lovely comment. Can’t wait to read what you have to say!

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